Tag Archives: Fly Fishing Courses

Fly Fishing Equipment – Pre Season Checkup

I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.

There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fishing to find that something is missing, or the floating line is sinking, or the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, or the reel has jammed up; need I go on.

I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fishing go smoothly throughout the coming year.

The list I set out below could be set up on XL spreadsheet so you can tick off the items as you have done them.

Fly Fishing Equipment Pre Season Check List


  • Check the joints for cracks and re-whip if necessary, or if you are not happy with the section, send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement (that’s if you have a lifetime guarantee) as the spigot joints might need a dressing.
  • When dressing, I use a mixture of deer fat and candle grease, particularly on salmon rods. This works well and you don’t have the same problems as when you use candle wax alone.
  • Clean the rings and check for damage. Replace if necessary.

  • Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
  • Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
  • Check springs and pawls

  • Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder. The winders are available from Sportfish or Carrilon UK for a small sum and are well worth the investment.
  • Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
  • Now check the connection to the line. I use an improved Albright Knot – if in doubt re-do the connection.
  • Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Please use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
  • Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
  • Check the braided leader loop for wear and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.  I prefer to make my own loops at the end of the line either by welding a loop in the line or by needle knotting a short piece of 20lb nylon to the line ending in a perfection loop on the end.
  • Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.

  • Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
  • Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.

  • Tidy flies
  • Remove used and rusty flies
  • Tie up flies or buy in replacements

  • Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, marrow spoon, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.

  • Empty all pockets and remove dross
  • Check:  zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
  • Replace flies in fly boxes
  • Check sunglasses for damage and clean

  • Check for holes and repair or replace
  • Check the net release if you use one

  • Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
  • Clean waders
  • Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
  • Clean boots

  • Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
  • Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.

  • Check fastenings and swivel.


……* Buy online or visit your nearest Post Office in England & Wales.





If there is anything I’ve left out, be my guest and leave a comment below; this is a resource for everyone to use and I’d be more than happy to revise the list with your suggestions. Until next time, happy fishing! 😀



Fly Fishing Women

I have just read an excellent article in the Express.co.uk about fly fishing women. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post, but in a nutshell the article talks about three British women’s journey into the wonderful world of fly fishing. The lovely ladies in question are: Martha Thomson, Lucy Bowden and Carol-Anne Armstrong.

I have to say that as a game angling instructor I have found that over the many years I have been instructing, there has been a significant and welcome increase in women taking up the sport either individually or with their partners.


(Pictured above: Anne Champion and Sue Macniven, both APPGAI Advanced Instructors)

This of course covers both game fishing and coarse fishing. The reason for this I believe is that it is an activity that does not demand brute strength, rather, it requires a lightness of touch as well as  excellent timing and technique, skills that can be attributed to both men and women in equal measures.

I must say fly fishing appears to be more attractive to women in many cases than coarse fishing as the bait (flies) used is made up from silks and feathers to represent insects, as opposed to coarse fishing, where maggots and worms and other such less appealing bait is used. In some cases, handling this type of bait is not an attractive proposition, dare I say, particularly for women.

A Brief History Of Women’s Fly Fishing

Women have been involved in angling in one way or another for many centuries. Dame Juliana Verna wrote a book called “Treatise on the Angle” published in 1497.

From the mid 19th to the mid 20th century the well to do would take their autumn holidays on their estates in Scotland, Wales and Ireland to stalk deer, shoot grouse and fish. In those days it was not “the done thing” for women to shoot so they were taken fly fishing for salmon, sea trout and trout on the estate’s rivers.

In fact, most of the national records for the largest salmon caught are still held by women; these days from all socio economic backgrounds, in contrast to the early days where it the domain of the wealthy landowners and their house parties.

Life has changed a great deal since those days with the advent of the midlands reservoirs and other large still waters. Fly fishing has become accessible to everyone and the modern equipment needed is within easy reach of all who would like to take up the sport.

Are Women Better Than Men At Fly Fishing?


Women are fly fishing in greater numbers these days than many of you might think. We have ladies teams competing all over the world and there are many women fly fishing on a regular basis with their husbands or partners; and can you guess who catches the most fish more often than not? Yes, sorry chaps, it’s the ladies. Controversial maybe, but in my experience, this often the case. I’d love to hear your opinion on this at the bottom of this post.

Many fisheries have facilities for women now and the clothing manufacturers such as Hardy Grays and Orvis are now making excellent clothing and waders especially designed for women.

Fly Fishing For Women Recovering From Breast Cancer

One other point to add is the therapeutic value of the action of casting whilst fishing. It has been proven that fly fishing has been a tremendous help to women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. So much so that an organization called Casting For Recovery has been formed. Casting For Recovery is a charity which provides fly fishing retreats for breast cancer survivors. They have enclaves around the UK where women can go to help their recovery.


Women’s Fly Fishing In Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire

Last year on my courses over 50% of the participants were women, either on their own, with friends or with partners. If you or your friends are in the Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk or Lincolnshire regions then I would be more than happy to introduce you to the wonderful world of fly fishing.

All you have to do is contact me for details of our introductory sessions, bring a friend if you want and come along to one of our fisheries for a morning to learn about fly fishing for women.

This year we are running coffee mornings at several fisheries for women and girls who might be interested. If you like what you see you can book your first fly fishing course. If you thinks it’s not for you then nothing lost, you’ll at least have enjoyed a morning trying something new. All the equipment you need will be provided on any course you take.

Fly Fishing Women Video

Here’s a great video to see a women’s fly fishing lesson in action.  I had the great privilege of being featured in one of John Bailey’s “On The Fly” TV series.

In the video, John discusses how in Scandinavia and America women anglers significantly outnumber their male counterparts and asks the question: “Why are so few women attracted to the sport in the UK?” John Bailey enlisted my help to examine the state of women’s fishing in the UK. Along with John and myself, Pauline Smith and her nine-year-old daughter Megan took to Norfolk’s Bure Valley lakes to put their talents to the test – with some surprising results.

Encourage More Female Brits To Take Up Fly Fishing

To close this post I’ll go back to the start and suggest you have a look at the article I mentioned earlier: Fishing: Meet The Three Female Converts Who Can’t Get Enough Of The Sport.

I have to endorse the article and suggest you visit the featured ladies’ web sites too.  I know all the women featured and I can assure you they are dedicated fly fisherwomen!

Please forward this and Tweet it to as many women and girls as you can and let’s encourage the female population of the UK to take up this wonderful sport just as their counterparts in the US and Scandinavia have.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are most welcome.


Tim Gaunt-Baker


Fly Fishing Basics | Part 2

In Fly Fishing Basics part 2 we take a look at the two building blocks of fly fishing:

The Roll Cast and The Overhead Cast

The Roll Cast

Watch the video


  • We use ‘clock face principal’ where your rod tip is pointing to the water at 8 o’clock and pointing vertically at 12 o’clock
  • Grip the rod as if you are shaking hands with someone
  • Start with the rod tip at the water (8 0’clock)
  • Lift your rod to the 12 o’clock position with your thumb, pointing vertically, just off your right eye (assuming you are right handed; obviously reverse this if you are using your left hand)
  • The line should now form a loop behind your shoulder (D loop) with the rest of the line still on the water in front of you (the anchor point)
  • Now accelerate your hand forward, stopping firmly at 11 o’clock. The line should now straighten and flow out over the water

That’s it! Congratulations, you’ve just made your first roll cast.

The Overhead Cast

Watch the video


  • Again using the clock face principal, start with the line straight on the water with the rod tip pointing to the water at 8 0’clock
  • Lift the rod slowly and as you get to 10 o’clock start to speed up to a firm stop at 12 o’clock
  • Pause and count one, two while allowing the line to straighten
  • Now accelerate forward to a firm stop at 11 o’clock
  • The line will flow out over the water so follow the line down with the rod to water level

Congratulations, you’re now ready to catch a trout!

Roll Cast & Overhead Cast Video


If you found this information useful or you’d like me to cover anything in a future tutorial please feel free to comment below – your comments are always appreciated.

Visit the homepage of the main site here or contact me here to arrange a lesson, course or a fly fishing trip.

‘Til next time, happy fly fishing. 😀

Tim Gaunt-Baker



Fly Fishing Lessons At Blackdyke Fishery, Norfolk

I am happy to announce that I have recently added another great fly fishing location here in Norfolk from where I will be running extra beginners and improvers fly fishing lessons. See dates below.

Blackdyke Fishery in Feltwell, Norfolk has just been opened to the public and comprises of a terrific 8 acre lake that has in fact been established for several years. The fishing is proving to be all you would want from a small stillwater; there are plenty of hard fighting fish, all in the peak of condition.


Situated on the edge of the Norfolk fens, the fishery sits within easy reach of Bury St Edmunds, with Newmarket to the south, Kings Lynn and Swaffam to the East, Wisbech, Ely and Cambridge to the west.

The facilities there are probably the most up to date of any fishery in the region: There is a good anglers lodge with toilet and shower facilities for ladies, and gentlemen and they also cater well for the physically challenged. A fully fitted kitchen is also available for large or small events. Tea, coffee and snacks are available to all during fishing.

On the lake there are 3 boats with electric motors and one wheely boat for physically challenged anglers. There is plenty of bank space with varying depths of water from 10’ to over 20’ in places.  As the fishery is based on chalk with a clay underlining the water tends to be very clear, which produces an abundant fly life.

As mentioned, I will be using this fishery for both Beginners and Improvers courses this year. Please contact me for any bookings as we tend to get booked up In the Spring quite quickly. I have attached the dates for the courses below:


One Day Fly Fishing Courses At Blackdyke Fishery

Introduction To Fly Fishing                                          27th                          10th                       8th
Advance casting and Fishing techniques                 31st                           21st                       29th
Any other dates by arrangement
All courses start at 9.30 finish  at 5.30  minimum 4 people Maximum 6 people.
Please reserve your place online to be sure of a place.
  • Introduction to Fly Fishing

Advance Casting & Fly Fishing Techniques

Contact here for costs and further details

All courses start at 9.30AM and finish at 5.30PM

Minimum 4 people and maximum 6 people.

Please reserve your place online to be sure of a place.

Please note: Pre-booking is ESSENTIAL: a booking deposit of £30 is required. You can book here by PayPal. 🙂

For a more in depth look at what to expect on the day, have a look at our Trout Fishing Norfolk courses page.